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The Real Russia. Today. New poetry of the post-Soviet diaspora, pop culture in translation, and ‘fake news’ in Arkhangelsk

Source: Meduza

Monday, April 29, 2019

This day in history: 201 years ago, on April 29, 1818, Alexander II was born in Moscow. His most famous reform as Russian emperor was the emancipation of the serfs in 1861. He was assassinated in 1881 in one of the earliest modern terrorist attacks.
  • The Cheburashka Collective: New poetry of the post-Soviet diaspora
  • Pop culture in translation: How ‘Game of Thrones,’ Lizzo, Buttigieg, and more took the RuNet by storm in April
  • An activist in Arkhangelsk faces double jeopardy over a post on social media
  • Attorney General posts major embezzlement case sentence before court announcement
  • Federal Antimonopoly Service will review complaints about the delayed release of ‘Avengers: Endgame’
  • Russia opens first passport center to process fast-tracked citizenship for residents of eastern Ukraine
  • After daughter of two celebrities wins ‘The Voice Kids,’ Russian state TV channel asks Interpol partner to investigate

The Cheburashka Collective 📚

The Cheburashka Collective is a group of women and non-binary writers whose identity has been shaped by immigration from the Soviet Union to the United States. On April 27, 2019, six members of the group, which is named for a beloved Soviet cartoon character, gathered in Philadelphia’s Penn Book Center for a poetry reading. Meduza in English news editor Hilah Kohen sat down with five of those poets before the event. They discussed what shared immigrant experiences can do for collectives, what collectivity can do for poetry, and what poetry can do for our world today. The “Cheburashki” also shared seven of their recent poems, which are reprinted below this interview with the kind permission of their publishers.

Read Meduza's report: “New poetry of the post-Soviet diaspora”

Pop culture in translation 🍿

Meduza in English publishes stories about Russia, but much of what circulates in the Russian language — big names, TV shows, political news — isn’t Russian at all. This piece (and similar ones to come) will highlight how viral phenomena that seem fundamentally Anglophone take on new and unexpected meanings in the Russian-speaking world.

Read our report: “How ‘Game of Thrones,’ Lizzo, Buttigieg, and more took the RuNet by storm in April”

Real charges over fake news 👮

On April 25, 2019, police in Arkhangelsk charged an activist with illegally disseminating “fake news,” after she reposted information about a local demonstration against the construction of a new landfill site. Officials say Elena Kalinina spread false information about the rally, knowing that organizers didn’t have the city's permission to march along the demonstration's planned route. The authorities had already fined Kalinina for the same post on the grounds that it incited public participation in an unpermitted protest. Russian law prohibits double jeopardy, and though the rally Kalinina promoted did take place, she nevertheless faces another misdemeanor conviction.

Read Meduza's story: “An activist in Arkhangelsk faces double jeopardy over a post on social media”

News briefs

  • ⚖️ On Monday, before Moscow’s Meshchansky District Court actually rendered its sentence, Russia’s Attorney General announced that Viktor Zakharchenko, the father of former Interior Minister Dmitry Zakharchenko, had been sentenced to five years in prison for embezzlement. The newspaper Novaya Gazeta noticed the agency’s statement, which soon disappeared. Not only was the Attorney General’s announcement early, but it was also inaccurate: the Meshchansky District Court later sentenced Zakharchenko Senior to four years in prison and fined him 800,000 rubles ($12,390). Read the story here.
  • 📽️ “Avengers: Endgame,” one of the most anticipated and profitable motion pictures of all time, is premiering in Russia only today, four days after its global release. According to unverified reports, the movie came late to Russia because the Culture Ministry wanted to protect a domestic film, “Billion,” from competing with the Hollywood blockbuster, enraging theater-owners across the country. The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) now confirms that a formal complaint against the delayed premiere of “Endgame” was filed on April 26. The agency is required to respond within 30 days. Read the story here.
  • 🛂 The first passport center in Russia set up to bestow fast-tracked citizenship to residents of the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic is now online in the city of Novoshakhtinsk, in Russia’s Rostov region, federal officials told the news agency Interfax. The office is reportedly running according to “test mode,” as the Russian government evaluates the demand from LNR residents and decides how many other passport centers to open. Read the story here.
  • 🎤 On April 26, the final vote in Russia’s branch of the international franchise The Voice Kids, a song competition reality show, was announced. Ten-year-old Mikella Abramova won with 56.5 percent of viewers’ votes. Abramova is the daughter of the Russian singer Alsou and the banker Yan Abramov. Read the story here.

Yours, Meduza